We would like to first thank everyone who was able to attend the hearing today to support Jamie, the Snow family, and the Exoneration Project. Your support in the courtroom speaks volumes, and we deeply appreciate everyone who was able to attend. I know there were many of you who were unable to attend, but the outpouring of good wishes on Jamie’s social media sites means the world to us! I cannot WAIT to tell him about all of the wonderful posts and hearing attendees – it makes a difference!
As discussed previously, the court’s primary issue to decide here is whether the successive post conviction petition was unfairly denied. Just to be clear – ALL we are asking for is chance to file this petition which was filed in May 2103 and was denied outright by the lower court – without a hearing.
The Oral Arguments audio is already online, so slap your headphones on and take a listen!
This hearing was held before a panel of three judges: Lisa Holder White, James A. Knecht and Robert J. Steigmann. Each side argued for 20 minutes (starting with the defendant), followed by the State, and ending with the defendant getting 5 minutes for rebuttal.
In reference to the polygraph received obtained through FOIA request – the one NEVER revealed to Jamie’s defense team prior to trial – in which star witness Danny Martinez specifically stated that Jamie Snow was not the person he saw – the State continued to make the weak argument that Martinez was referring to the 1991 line up in which Martinez failed to id Jamie Snow. In the polygraph worksheet notes, it describes the witness airing up his tires, then specifically says: “w says this is not the person he saw.” The State claims the defense is “blowing this up” and turning into something that goes to misconduct by the government. However, there’s no evidence that this note meant anything more than what was written.
Judge Steigmann had an excellent question for the state: So, the witness failed to identify petitioner in the lineup within a few weeks of the crime, and then 3 years later when this polygraph exam is taken, the note in the margin says that Martinez says petitioner is not the person he saw, and…your…description of that is that refers to the lineup?
Thats when things got fuzzy. A lengthy response that didn’t really answer his very straightforward question at all. She still ended with saying that it was a ‘shorthand’ way of saying that Martinez did not ID Jamie in the lineup.
There were also questions by both Knecht and Steigmann concerning affidavits that were previously submitted in which witnesses stated that Martinez and Jamie were acquainted growing up, and that Martinez had told people that he knew Jamie Snow and that Jamie was not the person he saw. The State’s response was basically that there is no evidence that Martinez knew Jamie (and how he looked) during the time of the crime, even if he knew him growing up.
Concerning the affidavit that was submitted by one of the jailhouse informants wives, there were several questions from Stiegmann about why she came forward years later. It was really a bizarre exchange that he simply would not let go of. You just have to hear it yourself, he harped on that issue to the point of absurdity. Not sure anyone knew where he was going with that. Finally, he asked an odd question about whether it we should ‘…stop everything if she came forward in 2025? Tara was like, “Yes.” It isn’t unusual for a witness to come forward years, sometimes even decades later. This is certainly not the first time this has happened.
There was also a focus on the details of the affidavit. Knecht pointed out that the affidavit was unique in that it had so many details such as naming the the detective that put pressure on them, and explaining other details – and that they usually do not see such detailed affidavits.
I do not recall any questions concerning the failed polygraphs by jailhouse informants. Although the State went down the list of jailhouse informants, expressed the leniency they received AFTER they testified. I guess she was trying to make the point that there was no evidence of deals or promises BEFORE they testified. It was another strange event, and I’m not sure how that’s going to work out for them. I just kept thinking what an odd coincidence it was that they ALL received favor on thier cases after they testified.
During rebuttal, Steigmann made another bizarre comment, “…Mr. Snow sounds like a real mope who really did a hell of a job incriminating himself by his behavior…” So, of course, I had to look that one up. According to the Urban Dictionary:
Mope: A person of any race or culture that is: presenting themselves as uneducated (either by mannerisms or the clothing they are wearing). Plural = Mopes Mopes usually are up to no good and may have an extensive criminal record and a limited vocabulary.
Aside from sentencing hearings, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a higher court judge say anything so disparaging in court about a defendant. Perhaps I’m naive, but I seriously think that comment crosses an ethical line. I’m sure Jamie’s daughter didn’t appreciate having her father talked about in such a derogatory manner by an appellate court judge.
In closing, Tara Thompson did a wonderful job of stressing thoughout the arguments that the new evidence must be looked at cumulatively. And that Brady says we must ask ourselves if the new evidence undermines our confidence in the verdict. We say yes, it does.
Media about this hearing:
The Pantagraph: Snow makes new bid for hearing on DNA testing
Please join us on Tuesday April 28 at 8 PM CDT, for the first show on IA’s new format.
Jamie’s case will be back in Appellate Court on May 12. We will discuss the arguments that will be heard during the hearing and provide an overall update of the case.
Please visit our show page to listen in. All live shows will also be available on our show page archive. So if you miss the live broadcast, be sure to catch the podcast at your convenience.
Jamie Snow was wrongfully convicted in 2001 for the 1991 murder of William Little, a gas station attendant in Bloomington, Illinois. Jamie is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in Stateville prison in Joliet, Illinois.
Jamie Snow has proclaimed his innocence from day one. In the years following his conviction, new information has come to light clearly showing that police misconduct and bad lawyering sent the wrong man to prison for William Little’s murder. Jamie Snow is innocent.
This time around, we are presenting “Brady” evidence. Which means evidence that was favorable to the defendant, but was withheld from him prior to trial. So what do we have?
Polygraph: This is actually a polygraph worksheet that was obtained through FOIA requests from supporters. The actual polygraph is Jamie Snow’s – 1994. In the notes on the worksheet, “Star witness” Danny Martinez says in reference to the suspect that Snow was not the person he saw.
This evidence was never turned over to Snow. In the state’s reply brief, they make a few very thin arguments.
1) They question whether the “28 year old white male suspect” was actually Jamie Snow. However, the state neglected to redact Snow’s name on the second page of the report. Guess they missed this part?
2) The state goes onto concede that “under the assumption Snow was the subject of the polygraph, ” the witness saying the defendant “is not the person he saw” seems like a “shorthand way of explaining that Martinez did not identify defendant in 1991 when defendant stood as part of an in-person lineup that Martinez viewed.” There is absolutely no evidence that Martinez was referring to the 1991 lineup in which he did not identify Snow, or any of the other photo array’s over the years in which he failed to ID Snow.
3) Finally, the state explains that Martinez was NOT a critical witness. “Therefore, the record rebuts defendant’s characterization of Martinez as a “critical” witness against him.” And bolsters Luna’s ID at “a lot stronger than Martinez.” Recall, Luna was the 14 year old boy who ‘closed his eyes and imagined each of them doing it, and Jamie Snow best fit.” One of the few the state didn’t ask to ID Snow in court, and also one that happened to give an affidavit recanting his ID. How convenient to be able to rewrite history, eh? If only the rest of us had those magical powers.
In addition to the above claims, 2 failed polygraphs from jailhouse informants, and an affidavit from one of these informants wives is being presented. As with the above, the state is claiming, had this evidence been presented at trial, it would not have changed the outcome.
Unlike previous arguments before the appellate court, we feel these arguments will be based on Brady material, or material that was not disclosed to the defense prior to trial. And also based on whether or not this new evidence would have changed the outcome of the trial.
We sincerely hope that you will join us at this hearing on May 12th at 11am in Springfield to support Jamie Snow and The Exoneration Project.
Below are the pleadings and responses that will be argued:
I’ve really been struggling with this, because it’s weird. Let me explain.
Jamie’s successive post conviction petition was denied in January, but we didn’t know about it. When Tara (EP attorney) had a conference call with the judge, she was very curt. She said she would rule by mail, and that she was really busy, and would rule when she could.
Fast forward to Postcards in the Park. We talk at length to a newspaper reporter, and she inquires with the clerk the following Monday about an update on the case. They inform the reporter there was a ruling in January – reporter then calls Tara and informs her of the status.
Okay, ONE failing to notify might be a mistake, but TWO denials without notification??? Houston, we have a problem.
Thing is, the McLean County Clerk’s Office doesn’t have an online docket system, so you have to call for updates, which I DID. And they NEVER told me there was a ruling. Notice anything screwy about the last few entries in this docket?
Was the state notified of the denial? If so, they allowed us to stand out in front of the courthouse in March 2014, with Jason Chambers looking down at us from the window, KNOWING it was denied, and not informing us? Did they allow us to stand in front of the press at Postcards in the Park in August 2014, and still failed to inform us of the denial?
So…we had to appeal to the 4th District, and they allowed a late appeal.
It’s very interesting that the successive pc included critical newly discovered evidence in the form of an ISP police report in which Danny Martinez told police in 1994 that Jamie Snow was not the person he saw as well as polygraph results from two jailhouse informants that prove they failed, and the state put them on the stand anyway.
Where we stand:
DNA motion is still before McLean County.
Federal Habeas is in abeyance.
Yeah. we’ll keep ya posted.
Please join us on Sunday, August 3rd from 11:00am – 2:00pm at Miller Park in Bloomington, Illinois for the 4th Annual Postcards in the Park to support Jamie Snow’s innocence, and gain awareness about this egregious injustice!
You do not have to be at the actual event to participate! We STILL need your help.
Please join the Facebook event site here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1494543540759633
This year we will send postcards to Keith Morrison of Dateline in an effort to have Jamie’s story told on a national level. We will have postcards for everyone to write messages at the park and will also release a balloon for each year he has been wrongfully convicted.
All supplies will be provided. Just bring yourself, your kids and friends! Please join us and tell you friends!
If you CANNOT ATTEND, please still SEND A POSTCARD to the address below asking Keith Morrison at Dateline to visit FreeJamieSnow.com and review the case for consideration of a Dateline investigative report.
SEND POSTCARDS TO:
NBC News: Dateline
ATTN: Keith Morrison
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10112
OR: Social network the crap out of him 🙂 Let him KNOW we would like a REAL investigation on the Jamie Snow case!
Thanks everyone. We’re growing every year, and it will not happen without your support. Thanks for sticking with us, and please keep spreading the word!
Check out last year’s message from Jamie after the 3rd Annual Postcards in the Park:
Don’t forget to join the event site! https://www.facebook.com/events/1494543540759633
Have you been a victim of prosecutorial or police misconduct in McLean County? Please join us on March 14th, 2014 at the McLean County Justice & Law Center to spread awareness about wrongful convictions in McLean County! LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD! You ARE NOT ALONE!
Featured speakers include Illinois exoneree James Kluppelberg, wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years, and Alan Mills, Legal Director, Uptown People’s Law Center. Spread the word! And feel free to tell your story below.
The “Does Innocence Matter” inagural event was held May 16, 2013 in Las Vegas in support of Kirstin Lobato’s innocence. Featured speakers included exonorees: Jeffrey Deskovic and Jason Puracal; Former FBI Agent Steve Moore, and Journalist Stephen Jackson. We want to thank supporters of Ms. Lobato. Please join her cause at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/414695245218231/
Questions or Comments? DoesInnocenceMatter@gmail.com
Please join us online at Injustice Anywhere Radio to discuss updates in the Jamie Snow case. Topics will include a review of the latest filings as well as newly discovered evidence. Please join the Facebook Event page below to stay updated on the details of the show.
Join the Facebook Event Page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/events/594002523987326/
Date: Tuesday, November 19
Time: 8pm CST
Listen Online: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/injustice-anywhere
About Injustice Anywhere:
Injustice Anywhere is an all volunteer organization working to bring more knowledge and attention to wrongful convictions. We are currently highlighting seven featured cases. Please visit www.injustice-anywhere.org to learn more about their efforts and to see what you can to do get involved. We must do more to prevent the unjust imprisonment of innocent people. If we work together we can all make a difference.
Thanks to Erin Moriarty for responding to our tweet! How cool is that?
This year for the 3rd Annual Postcards in the Park we will be sending postcards to Erin Moriarty of 48 Hours. We hope we can garner national attention to the wrongful conviction of Jamie Snow. You do not have to be present to participate!
The onsite event will be held on July 21, 11am at Miller Park in Bloomington, Illinois.
Please join our Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/596699920358188/
We are asking Jamie’s family, friends and supporters to gather at Miller Park in Bloomington, Illinois once again to show your support for Jamie’s innocence. This year we will send postcards to Erin Moriarty of 48 Hours in an effort to have Jamie’s story told on a national level. We will have postcards for everyone to write messages, We will also release a balloon for each year he has been wrongfully convicted. All supplies will be provided. Just bring yourself, your kids and friends!
Please family and friends join us! We NEED your support! Tell your friends!
– If you CANNOT attend, but can still SEND A POSTCARD from where you live!
SEND POSTCARDS TO:
ATTN: Erin Moriarty
524 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019
Please join our Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/596699920358188/